Simpsons World of Springfield
Town Square with Jebediah

The final playset in the World of Springfield is now hitting shelves. Okay, so not really hitting shelves, since there hasn't been any reports yet of an actual brick and mortar store getting these, but and Newforce Comics have been shipping their's for a couple weeks.

This is it for WOS - the end of the line. I've reviewed every regular release playset a wave (thanks to the recent 'retro' review of series 1, I'm now complete), and almost every exclusive playset and figure. I've laughed with the line, I've cried with the line...okay, not really, mostly I've just spent a ton of money on the line, and dedicated a huge amount of storage space for the rest of my life.

Rather than spend time discussing the line here, I've put together a little feature on the life and times of WOS. And when I say 'little', I mean it in the same way that a Texan means it when he calls his 5000 acre farm a 'little' spread. If you're going to make it through the whole feature, you better be wearing comfortable shoes.

No, here we'll just discuss the Town Square, the final playset in the World of Springfield. While it isn't the finest WOS playset ever, it's a decent way to end the line, and even has a few surprises. It looks like you'll be paying more this time around, probably $25 plus shipping since on-line is your best bet. I've got a couple suggestions at the end of the review, just like usual.

Packaging - ***
It's the same packaging we've seen for the last couple years, and the set still requires a screwdriver to free it. The packaging has always been decent, if not super exciting, but at the end of the day, I think I prefered the original work to the later style. It's a close call though, either way.

Sculpting - Jebediah ***; the set ***1/2
I've broken this out by figure and set, because there's enough of an appreciable difference between the two to make it worthwhile.

First, there's old Jebediah. It is a tad odd that we got him as a figure, although I'm betting voice rights were already secured both for Phil Hartman and Harry Shearer. The figure is a decent sculpt, in scale with the rest of the line, of the man himself, as he appeared in so many flashbacks. He's posed in a walking stance though, with one foot bent, so getting him to stand on his own is quite a little trick. Get the arms in just the right place and you'll find the sweet spot, but it's not the easiest.

There are about a billion other figures I would have rather had than Jebediah though, especially since we get him in this set in the statue form as well. Ah, well, you can't always get what you want...

The set itself is actually pretty spifftastic, at least in terms of sculpting. It's the same width and depth as the usual playset, but doesn't have two walls. With only the back wall, it feels much more open and airy - just like outdoors! The back wall has several pieces sculpted in relief, including the large tree, a couple bushes and the bench. I love the addition of such items, rather than having them simply part of the sticker.

Then there's the statue of Jebediah, standing dead center in the set. Obviously, it's not in scale, but that's only a minor detraction from the otherwise great sculpt. Across the front of the base is sculpted the famous Jebediah line "A noble spirit embiggens even the smallest man", and the statue's head is removable. It pops on and off the peg pretty easily, although I would have preferred a magnet, and no peg at all. It looks like his arms are supposed to be jointed at the shoulder - in the show his right arm was shown both up and down - but I can't get them to turn.  I'm not sure if it's stuck or not supposed to turn, and I ain't breaking it to find out.

Paint/Stickers - ***
The overall colors on the statue are bright and spring-like, but some of them are a tad too close. For example, the colors of the bench and tree almost match, and the colors of the bushes and tree are awfully close. Still, the quality of the paint ops is solid all around, even the whites of Jebediah's eyes, and there's not too much to complain about.

The sticker shows the steps of Town Hall, with Wiggum and the mob boys, along with Jacques driving in a car. As GrownUpGerald pointed out at SCS, somebody has a 'jacques-itch', since for a minor one show character, he's now shown up on two different decals (Moe's was the other one). There are other little touches like the inclusion of Santa's Little Helper, and the background sticker is bright and colorful. You would have probably picked other characters for the background, but then, wouldn't we all.

Articulation - **1/2
Neck, shoulders and waist. That won't be the last time I say that - the Incredibles deluxe figures just had the same routine - but it's the last time I'll have to repeat it for WOS. Neck, shoulders and waist. It was worth getting it in one more time.

Accessories - ***
The set has only one accessory - technically. I suppose you can also count the head of Jebediah as an accessory since it is removable, but I'm only counting the included back pack. And one accessory is just too light to score too high.

But if you're only going to give us one accessory, you should make it a great one, and Playmates did. It's a backpack for Bart, scaled to fit on his back, but it can also hold Jeb's head. How cool is that? Bart can even stand up wearing it, which was unexpected - I figured he'd topple right over once the weight was on him. I think this is the only play set to have just one accessory, and I think it's also the only play set to have an accessory that is technically intended to be worn by a figure NOT included with the set.

Talking Feature - ***
Perhaps the saddest reminder of what could have been comes in the form of this playsets included lines. Oh sure, there's stuff for the existing characters, including classics like "What are you beatin' your gums about" for Brandine, or "There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity" for Artie Ziff. No, the depressing part is the surprise inside.

But first, let's talk about Jebediah's lines. He has five lines, pretty good considering he wasn't the most common character.

"A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man"...this line is unique, as it is clearly spoken by Phil Hartman. The rest of the lines are from Harry Shearer.

"Firstly, I did not tame the legendary buffalo, it was already tame - I merely shot it" (my personal favorite).

"Why do you dig up the bones of past - why did you disturb the ghosts of history"?

"I have not always been known as Jebediah Springfield - til 1796, I was Hans Sprungfeld"! 

"Well, then we'll form our own town"

But what of the surprise? Oh, that would be the lines in this set for figures we'll never see, including Uncle Moe, Arnie Pie, Sanjay, Cecil Terwilliger, Lewis (although the absence of Richard seems odd), and Lindsey Naegle. 

Akira says - "I am Akira your waiter. May I take your order?"
Sanjay says - "I guarantee a wing ding of gigantic proportions."
Arnie Pie says, quite appropriately - "Arnie Pie in the sky"
Ms. Naegle says - "That projects to a profit of $370 million dollars"
Cecil says - "Oh come now you speak as if they were a gaggle of slack jawed yokels"
Lewis says - "I'm Lewis"
and while it didn't require a new figure, we all know an Uncle Moe was talked about being produced many times, and here Moe says - "Here ya go, here I am, Uncle Moe, thank ya ma'am"

If you're looking to check these out yourself, the following codes will work with your Vocaluxulator:

001000 000011 - Arnie Pie
001000 010101 - Lewis
001000 101001 - Cecil Terwilliger
001000 011110 - Lindsey Naegle
001000 111010 - Sanjay

BTW, thanks to aka Mr. Articulate and blueduck for doing the work to figure out all the information on the lines!

The talking feature has one serious drawback this time - the placement of the pegs. There are the usual three pegs, but one sits directly BEHIND the statue, so you're never going to be able to clearly see any figure there, and very few will fit anyway.

Fun Factor - **1/2
The World of Springfield has always been more of a collector's line than a kid's line, but that doesn't mean they aren't any fun. The talking feature has always been fun, and while there isn't a lot of conflict in Springfield for a kid to act out, there are still enough play possibilities to warrent an average score.

Value - ***
I'm going to assume you paid the usual twenty bucks for the set, and that's a nice, solid, if not exciting, value. Considering the increasinly high prices of action figures, it's fairly amazing that the WOS stuff remained at close to the same level through much of its run.

Overall - ***
There's a big woman standing in front of me right now, and she's belting one out. It's a pity the line had to end, but all good things eventually do. I've put together a lengthy article on the life and times of WOS, so I won't go into it here, but I will say that this set is a decent end for a fantastic line.

While the Jeb figure wouldn't be my top choice - I'm still royally bummed that I never got to include Maude with the rest of her family - the set looks great on the shelf. I love the trees, bushes and benches in relief on the back, and the statue is great even if it is out of scale.

This is also the time to complete your collections, as prices should drop pretty precipitously for awhile with the end of the line. But don't lollygag on this particular set, since it will have a very low production run, and may see very limited distribution at any bricks and mortar stores.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Jebediah ***; the set ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***
Talking Feature - ***
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***

Where to Buy - 
I picked up mine on-line, and I bet that's going to be your wisest choice as well. Don't dilly dally, because tail enders like this are always some of the lowest produced items in a line, and tend to disappear fast, never to be seen again. Or at least not at a reasonable price.

- I got mine through for $25. I didn't like paying five bucks more, but what's a completist to do.

- I had one ordered through, but they still haven't gotten theirs in, and I got tired of waiting. However, they are still just $20 there, so it might be worth the wait.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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